'Okuribito' tops Montreal fest

Audience award goes to Benoit Pilon's 'Necessities'

TORONTO -- The Montreal World Film Festival on Monday gave its top jury prize to Japanese director Yojiro Takita's "Okuribito" (Departures), but saw its top audience awards go to Canadian documentary filmmaker Benoit Pilon's debut fiction drama "The Necessities of Life."

The Montreal jury, led by U.S. director Mark Rydell, gave the Grand Prix of the Americas prize to Takita's drama about an out-of-work cellist who leaves Tokyo to return to his hometown to become an undertaker.

At the same time, the festival jury also gave the Special Grand Prix award to Pilon's feature about an Inuit man suffering from tuberculosis in 1950s Quebec. The period drama also earned the most popular film nod, voted on by filmgoers, and the audience award for most popular Canadian film.

Other jury awards in Montreal include Serbian director Goran Markovic's prize as best director for "The Tour," which also grabbed the FIPRESCI prize.

Barbara Sukowa took the actress trophy for her star-turn in Ulla Wagner's "The Invention of Curried Sausage," while the actor award went to Eri Canete for his work on Walter Doehner's "Teo's Voyage," from Mexico.

Montreal also split the screenplay award between Xavi Puebla and Jesus Gil for "Welcome to Farewell-Gutmann" and Riyoichi Kimizuka and Satoshi Suzuki for "Nobody to Watch Over Me."

The only U.S. film in competition was Matthew Wilder's "Your Name Here," the Bill Pullman-starrer loosely based on the life of sci-fi writer William J. Frick, which went home empty-handed.

In all, the 32nd edition of the festival unspooled 234 feature films during 11 days.